Camomile used to scare off rhino

2011-09-29 09:30

kalahari.com

  • Nepal
    This stunning book describes 25 treks and 12 climbing peaks in the Nepal Himalayas, with coverage... Now R230.00
    buy now
Kathmandu - It can soothe a troubled mind and calm a rebellious gut, but a remote Nepalese forest community has discovered another unlikely use for camomile - it scares away unruly rhino.

The ethnic Tharu people who live beneath the southern foothills of the Himalayas have been plagued for generations by the one-horned rhinoceros, which ventures onto their land, trampling crops and sometimes injuring villagers.

Loath to use violent means to keep the endangered grazing species at bay, they discovered that planting the daisy-like camomile on the edge of the forest would ward off their nuisance neighbours, who hate the smell.

"It works as barrier. Because of the peculiar smell of this unpalatable [herb]... it helps to stop wildlife from entering farmland. It works not only for rhino but also other herbivores," said Suman Bhattarai, of the Partnership for Rhino Conservation, which helps Nepalis live side-by-side with the rhino.

The Tharu are said to be direct descendants of Buddha and to have lived for centuries in the forests of the Terai, a narrow strip of land which extends for 900km along the southern border of Nepal.

Pungent odour

Their innovative use of camomile has seen the tribes people of Suryapattuwa village shortlisted for the BBC's $20 000 World Challenge Award 2011, which rewards enterprise helping to maintain sustainable local communities.

"Animals from the nearby buffer zone area of the Bardiya National Park used to enter our farmland and destroy huge amount of crops. We started this work with support from the national park and WWF Nepal," community leader Mangal Tharu Yogi told the Kathmandu Post.

While large herbivores baulk at the pungent odour, camomile is used to treat a wide variety of human complaints, including indigestion, heartburn and vertigo.

Bhattarai said tribespeople who might not be inclined to spend time growing a crop they cannot eat should think of selling it as a herbal remedy as well as using it as a deterrent.

"But in Nepal, people are not getting these multiple benefits," Bhattarai said. "It is [only] being grown for 'fence' purposes in some areas in order to reduce crop raiding."

Thousands of greater one-horned rhinos, also known as the Indian rhinoceros, once roamed Nepal and northern India but their numbers have plunged over the past century due to poaching and human encroachment of their habitat.

The population is recovering after a dramatic plunge in numbers during the 1996 - 2006 civil war, when soldiers deployed to prevent poaching left to fight a guerrilla insurgency.

Tourism

Wildlife experts spent a month earlier this year conducting an exhaustive survey and counted 534 rhino in Nepal's southern forests - 99 more than when the last such study was carried out in 2008.

Conservationists say much of the credit should go to local community groups set up to protect the wildlife, which brings much-needed tourism income to an area where most people still scratch a living as subsistence farmers.

The animals are poached for their horns, which are prized for their reputed medicinal qualities in China and southeast Asia.

A single horn can sell for tens of thousands of dollars on the international black market, and impoverished Nepal's porous borders, weak law enforcement and proximity to China have made the country a hub for the illegal trade.

Rhino poaching in Nepal carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail.
Read more on:    nepal  |  animals
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/World

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an emphasis on work. There may be some restrictions, or delays or extra responsibilities. It is all about rhythm and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.